Martin Sharp 1942-2013

Martin Sharp, the Australian pop artist famed for his psychedelic portrait of Bob Dylan, first published on the cover of counter-cultural magazine Oz in 1967 and later an ubiquitous student poster, has died, reports the New York Times.

In 1973, Sharp painted Still Life: Marilyn, a surrealist work that channels both Andy Warhol and Vincent Van Gogh, as explained on the National Gallery of Australia website:

 “The painting that Sharp did with artist Tim Lewis, Still life: Marilyn 1973, pays homage to both Warhol and Marilyn Monroe. In the months that followed Monroe’s death in August 1962, Warhol made more than twenty silkscreen paintings of her, combining two of his consistent preoccupations: death and the cult of celebrity. Sharp initially made a collage of the still life by pasting Warhol’s image of Monroe from a Tate Gallery poster onto a print of the much-reproduced Sunflowers by Van Gogh.

‘This collage was only possible to me at the time because Marilyn’s green eyeshadow was the same green as the background of the sunflowers. There was also an echo of Marilyn’s life and Vincent’s. They were both great artists, they died at a similar age and one could describe Marilyn as a sunflower. I called the painting Still life, because though they had left this world they were still alive in their art and influence …2

Although the painting Still life: Marilyn was done later than the collage, the idea had come about while Sharp was living in London. Like many young Australian artists, he was drawn to the the swinging sixties in London where he lived from 1967 to 1969.”

Scarlett as Marilyn (Again)

Scarlett Johansson may have tried to distance herself from being compared to Marilyn (see here), but it seems that Interview magazine has other ideas. This Andy Warhol-esque cover graces the Russian edition for February, which is fitting as the Godfather of Pop Art himself was also the magazine’s founder.

Scarlett recently played another iconic star, Janet Leigh, in Hitchcock, and is currently starring as Maggie in a Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams’ play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Marilyn In Art: Rene Gagnon

One of six original prints by Rene Gagnon, from the series ‘Everything to Say, No Time to Say it’:

“I began this series on Marilyn Monroe for reasons beyond the reasons I used her years ago. Being an artist today, well any day for that matter, we are constantly being influenced by those who created before us and with us during our lifetime. I used her image originally because she was (is) still part of pop culture, obviously immortalized by Andy Warhol. I began to wonder what motivated Warhol and so many other artists to use her in the first place. Was it just about Warhol or was there more too it, more to her? I had questions, so I sought the answers. What I found is something I can’t quite put into words but it moved me to create this body of work.”

Ron English Exhibit at Venice Beach

‘Marilyn Comic’, a screen print by pop artist Ron English, is currently on display as part of the English 101 exhibit at the Post No Bills gallery space, Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice Beach, until October 30.

‘Marilyn Comic’ is loosely based on Richard Avedon‘s 1957 portrait of Monroe, and can be purchased for $350.

English describes his art as ‘POPaganda’. An exhibit of his new work will open at the Corey Helford Gallery, Culver City, on November 19.


Pop Artist Richard Hamilton Dies

The British artist, Richard Hamilton, has died aged 89. One of his most famous works was ‘My Marilyn’ (1966), one of the few pop art pieces that succeeds in showing Marilyn as a human being as well as an icon.

“In ‘My Marilyn’, Hamilton takes as his source material George Barris’ colour photographs of Marilyn Monroe published after her death. Hamilton wrote: ‘M.M. demanded that the results of the photographic sessions be submitted to her for vetting before publication. She made indications, brutally and beautifully in conflict with the image, or on proofs and transparencies to give approval or reject, or suggestions for retouching that might make it acceptable.’ From these photographs Hamilton produced a series of black and white enlargements in three formats which he arranged as a collage for the first photographic screen for the print. This was used as the basis of a series of further manipulations for different versions. Hamilton preserved Marilyn’s own marks of approval or rejection, commenting that ‘The aggressive obliteration of her own image has a self-destructive implication that her death made all the more poignant: there is also a fortuitous narcissism, for the negating cross is also the childish symbol for a kiss.’ “

Warhol Exhibition in Bexhill, Sussex

Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Diptych (1962) will be among the pop artist’s many famous works on display at a new exhibition, Warhol is Here, opening at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill, East Sussex on September 24, through to February 26, 2012. Best of all, admission is free!

“The Pavilion is delighted to announce that one of Warhol’s most important works the Marilyn Diptych(1962), will be part of the exhibition.  The painting, made in 1962, shortly after the actress’ death, comprises two canvasses, each containing 25 silkscreened repetitions of the image of Marilyn Monroe first used as a publicity photograph taken for her role in the film Niagara.  It is considered to be one of the world’s most important pieces of contemporary art and was created at a time when Warhol was moving from being a commercial artist and establishing his reputation as a fine artist.”

Pop Art Marilyn in Columbus, Ohio

‘Stardust Valentine’ by Joss Parker

Red, White and Pop Americana, an exhibition by artist Joss Parker, includes a series of Marilyn-inspired works and is on display at Clayspace/Gallery 831, Columbus, Ohio until this Friday, July 29.

“Canvases featuring Warhol favorite Marilyn Monroe and other subjects tap the nostalgia running through vintage pop culture, illustrating connections that are more personal than analytical.

Parker explained that his portraits of the screen goddess have as much to do with childhood memories of watching her movies with his grandfather as Monroe’s favored status in Warhol’s oeuvre.”

Columbus Dispatch